Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Long Distance Drunks: A Tribute to Charles Bukowski, edited by Max Booth III

(pb; 2014: story and poetry anthology)

Overall review:

Long Distance Drunks is an excellent, appropriately toned and executed collection that pays homage to its titular inspiration.  Every story and poem in this twenty-two piece anthology has something to recommend it.  This book is worth owning, especially if you're a fan of Bukowski's work and legacy.

Standout stories:

1.)  "The Killers" - Eli Wilde:  Two lovers - a mechanic and his boss's daughter - break out of their horrible and monotonous wasteland existences.  Bleak, compelling.

2.)   "Heavenly Cure For a Dripping C*ck" - T. Fox Dunham:  Bodily fluids, raw emotions and explicit sex highlight this tale about a "cursed" bum seeking physical healing.  Especially good read.

3.)   "A Scarecrow Unlabeled" - William Barker:  Vivid poem about Bukowski's writing - and a small part of his legacy.

4.)   "Shackjob" - Brett Williams:  A drunk-bum writer (Chuck Becker) rambles between bars, women and crash pads.  This work has a charming, effectively vagrant feel to it.  One of my favorite pieces in this collection.

5.)   "Drowning Butterfly" - Gabino Inglesias:  Effectively-Bukowski-esque piece about a struggling wandering author whose encounter with an eerie beach woman proves to be tender, dark and beautiful.  One of my favorite pieces in this collection.

6.)   "Zero" - S. MacLeod: An ex-junkie hooker comes up with a flawed pan to improve her circumstances.  Memorable finish to this one.

7.)   "Without Face" - Michael Bailey:  Time-fractured, hallucinatory tale about a man (Saul Pravat) dealing with the bloody fallout of indulging in a mystery drug.  Interesting work.

8.)   "Behind the Bar" - Will Viharo:  Raunchy, sometimes poetic and often hilarious dialogue highlights this story about a movie star (Mick - as in Mickey Rourke) and a famous author (Chuck - as in Charles Bukowski, whom Mick played in the 1987 film Barfly).  These two characters drink, fight and philosophize a bit.  One of my favorite pieces in this anthology.

9.)   "The Other Kind of Workshop" - Jacob Haddon:  This poem colorfully - in Bukowski-esque style - describes writers' realities.  Good poem, no wasted words in it and it flows well.

10.)   "Turk and Taylor" - Tom Pitts:  Excellent and sometimes creepy piece about a junkie trying to find the best place to fix.  Memorable work.

11.)   "Herniated Roots" - Richard Thomas:  An affair takes on dark, mysterious and perversely life-affirming aspects.

12.)   "Bukowski" - Justin Hyde:  Especially good, word-spare versework about its titular character.

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